Too much humidity can create many problems, such as mold and mildew, musty smells, structural issues, and an unpleasant muggy feeling. That’s why it’s important to control humidity if you want to increase indoor air quality and home comfort.
The ideal relative humidity level is between 30 to 50 percent. Summer is typically the most challenging time of year to stay in this range. Luckily, turning on the air conditioner can help.
After all, air conditioning doesn’t only cool your home—it also decreases humidity. Here’s a look at how this works, along with tips to balance indoor humidity levels.
How Air Conditioning Lowers Humidity
Contrary to popular belief, your air conditioner doesn’t add cool, dry air in your home—it takes out heat and humidity. The process requires refrigerant, which absorbs heat and moisture effectively from the indoor air. Here’s the process:
- Indoor air flows through the ductwork and all over the evaporator coil that contains cold refrigerant.
- The refrigerant collects heat, and the moisture in the air collects on the coil.
- The condensation falls into the condensate pan below the evaporator coil and drains out of the system.
- Cool, dehumidified air flows back into your home.
Ways to Lower Humidity
Using the air conditioner will sometimes be sufficient to push the relative humidity below 50 percent in dry climates. But if high humidity continues to be a problem in your home, consider these tips.
Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room when you shower, cook and wash clothes. This form of ventilation eliminates humidity at the source to keep these rooms comfortable. You can also open a window when it’s mild outside to let in fresh air.
Mop Up Standing Water
Damp shower tiles, kitchen counters and laundry room floors elevate indoor humidity and will sometimes stimulate mold and mildew. Clean up standing water promptly to protect against these problems.
Run a Dehumidifier
If you grapple with extreme humidity in the summer, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier that performs in tandem with your air conditioner to make your entire home more comfortable. A whole-house model can even run independently of the AC to lower humidity on more temperate days without using the air conditioner. This method saves you money and prevents that “cool but clammy” feeling.
Flip the AC Fan to Auto
The condensation that collects on the evaporator coil needs time to build up and flow away. If you use the air conditioning fan constantly, the moisture won't be able to leave your home. That’s why it’s more efficient to set the fan to “auto” so it only runs when the AC compressor starts. You should be able to adjust this setting easily on your thermostat.
Swap Out the Air Filter on a Regular Basis
An old filter traps dust and debris and will sometimes encourage mold spores if it becomes wet. This introduces moisture and mold spores into your home any time the AC is running. Exchange the air filter every month or as encouraged by the manufacturer to reduce indoor humidity and increase air quality.
Adjust the Fan Speed
Setting the fan speed can be tricky. Strong airflow helps the AC sustain cooling demand on scorching summer days, but this may cause shorter cycles that prevent effective dehumidification. Work with an HVAC technician to help you select the best fan speed for your comfort requirements.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
A dirty coil can’t cool and dehumidify well. If your cooling is having trouble reaching the preferred temperature, contact our HVAC specialists to maintain your cooling system and clean the evaporator coil. Cooling and dehumidifying performance should improve as a result.
Check the Refrigerant Charge
A depleted supply of refrigerant can impede your air conditioner’s ability to carry out its job. Left unchecked, severe issues like a frozen evaporator coil or compressor failure might happen. Only a skilled HVAC technician can mend refrigerant leaks and replenish the system as needed, offering you another reason to request an AC tune-up.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
If your home has constant comfort trouble and your air conditioner is getting old, it might be time for a replacement. Choose a new AC unit with innovative features, including a thermal expansion valve (TXV) and variable blower motor. A TXV offers the exact amount of refrigerant consistent with the air temperature, and a variable blower motor adjusts the fan speed to meet demand. Both features increase cooling and dehumidifying effectiveness.
Manage Indoor Humidity with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
If you decide it’s time to install a whole-house dehumidifier or replace your AC system, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Our HVAC services are designed to improve home comfort and energy efficiency for your long-term satisfaction. To share questions or schedule a visit from one of our certified heating and cooling technicians, please contact us today.